Tuesday, March 25, 2008

First Hike of the Season

Melissa and I took advantage of the nice weather this past Saturday and went on our first hike of the season. Because we were having friends over for dinner and didn't have a lot of time, we chose a place close by. The Audobon Society of RI Headquarters is located at Sanderson Road in Smithfield. Directly behind the headquarters is PowderMill Ledges Wildlife Refuge. There are three trails total -the blue loop being the largest at 1.25 miles. It took us a little over an hour at a leisurely pace to finish all three.

While it was nice to be in the woods, I generally prefer to be more secluded when hiking. I'm sure when the trees start to fill in, you won't be able to see as many cars and the amount of wildlife will surely increase. Because Powder Mill is so close to home, I can see us returning when we want to get a short hike in and don't want to take the time to drive too far.

Incidentally, we learned that the Audobon Society of RI has many educational programs available. For example, on April 11th, there is something at the Parker Woodland Wildlife Refuge in Coventry called the "Owl Prowl". There is also the "Harbor Seal Walk"at the John Chafee Wildlife Sanctuary in North Kingstown on April 13th.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sustainable Rhode Island

Did you know about the website?

Melissa and I have significantly reduced our landfill waste (in fact, last week we had no trash to put out!). We're recycling fools! I'll post again about what we do to reduce our impact. We've learned a lot in the last year.

But today, I was looking for information on composting in Rhode Island and I was pleasantly surprised to see this website, which is full of information on local farms and markets, as well as information about reducing waste. Good for us, Rhode Island!

Growing Up in Pawtuxet Village

My family moved to Cranston, Rhode Island when I was in the second grade. We originally lived in Edgewood which in it's own right is a wonderful place to live. But the real magic of growing up was when we moved just down the road to Pawtuxet Village.

It's really a community within a community. It's located at the mouth of the Pawtuxet River which empties out into Pawtuxet Cove and then Narragansett Bay. So you can imagine the picturesque beauty of a warm summer morning with boats galore and grand ocean front homes. When I say it's a community within a community I mean it's self sustaining. Any type of business that can be found in any city is in place in the Village. Gas stations, banks, restaurants, sidewalk cafes, book stores and ice cream shops are just some of what you can expect when you visit.

It's full of historic colonial era homes that give the community a unique personal feel. Pawtuxet Village spans two cities - Cranston and Warwick. I lived on the Cranston side where most of the businesses are located. I have fond memories of my life there. My first job at a small family run restaurant called oddly enough "The Family Restaurant" next to Cameron's Drug. At the time I made $2.65 per hour . I felt like I was a millionaire.

As I got older and became more known around the Village, I was lucky enough to get a job at Lindsay's Market. This place is an institution to the locals. I loved working there - although I still wasn't making $5 an hour! Minimum wage was only $4.65, it was a giant leap from my last job. The Lindsay family started the business back in the mid-twentieth century. The market is housed in the old Odd Fellows Mount Vernon Lodge No.50 at 2180 Broad St. I would highly recommend a visit to the market if you ever find yourself nearby. For a detailed history of the Village and it's past please check out Pawtuxet.com.

As a mischievous (but harmless!) teen, my friends and I were always on the lookout for an adventure. We would constantly explore areas such as Fay Field down by Rhodes on the Pawtuxet. Or set out to traverse the sea wall from the RI Yacht Club down to the tip of Pawtuxet Cove. The trick to this adventure was to not get wet or get caught trespassing even though we never intentionally went on to anyone's property. In our minds the sea wall was fair game. I really loved doing that. On warm summer nights we would sleep on the docks in the Cove. Truthfully we would usually end up sleeping on the back of someone's boat because they had nice padding to rest on. Again, in our minds it wasn't a bad thing because we never vandalized anything and all we wanted to do was enjoy the water and the adventure of it all. Unfortunately I can't say the same for the kids of today who appear to want to "tag" on everything. Wow, I can't believe I've gotten to the point in my life where I would be saying "the kids of today". I guess I'm officially getting old.

I can remember sitting on the Bridge for countless hours with my friends just enjoying the lifestyle and taking in the sights and sounds of life there. When recently went back to take some photos with my girlfriend Melissa, I started to get a little emotional as we walked up to the Bridge and I heard the rush of the water, which was raging because of a recent storm. I was instantly taken back the second I smelled and heard the violent water which is normally much slower. My friends and I would sit on the Dear Hearts side of the Bridge. Dear Hearts is a quant ice cream shop that opened back in the '80s and was an instant success. It was my introduction to the "Waffle Cone". Walking into Dear Hearts you were overcome by the delicious smell of warm waffle cones being made. I guess I'm a very sense driven person because anytime I smell that I'm immediately brought back to my days in the Village.

I would strongly urge you to make it a point to take a trip to this hidden gem on a summers weekend to experience what I hold so dear.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It's not over yet! If you're not completely wiped out from the parades and celebrating this weekend why don't you check out the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet St. Patrick's Day Celebration Show?

Here are the details:

  • Band 7:00PM-10:30Pm

  • Irish Step Dancers 6:00PM-7:00Pm

  • John Connors and the Irish Express 2:00Pm - 6:00Pm

  • General Admission $10.00

  • Food Available for purchase

"If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?" ~Stanislaw J. Lec

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Yoga Instruction in Rhode Island

Have you tried yoga? It's been too long since my last class and Melissa and I are fortunate to have an amazing instructor so I really don't have an excuse - I really should make more time for relaxation. My instructor's name is Julie Cloutier and she trained at the Sivananda Ashram in CA, where she received her certification in Hatha Yoga. She has been teaching for 3 years and continues to further her training by studying Vinyasa Yoga at Eyes of the World with Tom Gillette.

Julie offers two classes in Warwick – Wednesday night and Saturday morning. Her Wednesday class is currently full but Saturday morning has some openings. She also will come to you for private or semi-private instruction if you have the space. If you are interested in Saturday morning class or private instruction, let me know and I’ll get you her info.

Fort Wetherill - Jamestown, RI

Summer's coming! Ok so it's still a good 3 months away but when I look at pictures like this one from last summer, it feels like it can't possibly be that far off. This picture was taken in July '07 at Fort Wetherill in Jamestown. My girlfriend and I love to go out there, climb on the rocks and just lay in the sun with a picnic.

This particular day, there were tons of sailboats out, and I got some great shots with my camera. Someday I will get myself a more professional camera, but for now, my Kodak point and shoot digital camera is doing a great job of capturing memories. :)

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

New Sprint Plan

One of the agents in my office told me about a new plan from Sprint called the "Simply Everything Plan". I signed up right away as soon as I heard about it. They charge $99.99 per month for unlimited text, minutes, web, Internet, e-mail... everything. If don't know if other service providers offer this option, but if you have Sprint, check it out.

It's My Birthday

Ok, not really. My birthday was 2 days ago. But I celebrate the whole weekend. This year, my girlfriend took some time out of work and spent the afternoon at the driving range with me hitting golf balls. It was cold but worth it to get out there and start working on my swing.

If you haven't been to Mulligan's Island in Cranston, I definitely recommend checking it out. It's close to my office on Oaklawn Ave, so on the days when I'm spending time there, it's nice to take a break and drive around the corner.

Tomorrow, my family is coming over to celebrate with me. My mother is bringing my favorite carrot cake from LaSalle Bakery. It will be a good day, lots of laughs and great food. I love my birthday - and the fact that it's so close to St. Patrick's Day just gives me more of a reason to stretch out the celebration! The countdown begins - only 363 days till the next one.